what is acupressure used to treat

5 Common Ailments Acupressure Is Used To Treat

Once in our lives, we have tried massaging a certain part of our body to alleviate pain. Whether we know what its proper name is or not, we are aware of this medicinal practice. This natural therapy is a form of acupressure. 

Acupressure is derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophies used for alternative medicinal methods. It involves the application of pressure to certain body points to treat ailments. In a form of massage, it is believed to provide both temporary relief and long term health benefits. It is quite similar to acupuncture except for the use of fingertips instead of needles. There have been studies and a number of evidence that show the efficacy of acupressure.

Acupressure is a pretty easy procedure to perform and it does not necessarily need the help of another person’s hands. You can totally do it on your own once you have learned the common pressure points. Though it is advisable to seek help from an acupuncturist or therapist, you may perform it yourself by using your thumb, finger, or knuckle to apply light but firm pressure on various points.

It is most commonly used to provide ease  from the following health ailments:

1. Stress and anxiety

Acupressure is most popularly used in relieving stress and anxiety. It promotes the release of endorphins in the brain according to Justin Newman, the director of Holistic Medicine at Banyan Holistic. It supports the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates the relaxation responses of the body while slowing down the sympathetic nervous system and stress response. 

These are some of the well-used pressure points acupressure uses to relieve stress and anxiety:

  • Yin Tang

    It is found at the midpoint between the eyebrows. Applying a gentle pressure with the right thumb or forefinger in a circular motion for 5 to 10 minutes will help promote stress relief and relaxation.

  • He Gu

    It is located at the highest point of the muscle between your thumb and index finger when closed together. Pressure can be applied here through a 4 to 5-second massage.

  • Feng Chi

    It is situated at the top of the back of the neck, right at the base of the skull where the neck muscles are. The trick here is to use the thumb on following down the mastoid bone down to the neck muscles, which are attached to the skull and applying pressure there.

  • Jian Jing

    These points are located at the shoulder muscles. It is recommended to pinch the shoulder muscles with the thumb and middle finger for 4 to 5 seconds in order to release tensions.

2. Troubled sleep quality

Stress is a big disruptor of a good night’s sleep, but most people have used acupressure to aid their sleeping difficulties. A study was conducted in San Gerardo Hospital in Milan, Italy that verifies the effectiveness of acupressure in helping insomniac patients get longer and better quality of sleep. 

For those who want a better quality of sleep, you may stimulate the following pressure points:

  • Neiguan

    It is known to be the most effective pressure point for combatting sleep complications. It is found at the base of the wrist where the natural depression between the tendons lie. Applying firm pressure on the area will trigger relaxing responses. 

  • Shimien

    It is located toward the rear of the heel. To get the soothing feeling before bedtime, you should try putting pressure with your fingers. Along with pressure, it also responds well to heat. You can try soaking your feet in warm water before nap time to get the relaxing relief.

  • Anmian

    When translated in English, it actually means “peaceful sleep.” This pressure point is located behind the ear where the neck muscles and jawline meet. It can be massaged with the thumb or index and middle fingers for 15 to 20 minutes.

stress relief acupressure

3. Nausea 

There are various causes of nausea, but regardless of the cause, it can be eased through acupressure. Nausea because of morning sickness has proven to be one of the health difficulties acupressure can aid.

These pressure points are some of the popularly known ways to halt irksome nausea: 

  • Neiguan

    Aside from providing better sleep quality, it is also widely used to relieve nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is located on the inner arm near the wrist. You can use your thumb or index finger to press the point for 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Gongsun

    This pressure point is connected to the spleen and it helps avoid nausea caused by gastric problems. It is situated at the medial aspect of the foot, in the depression distal and inferior to the proximal end of the metatarsal bone of the big toe. It is where the color of the skin on that area changes.

  • Zu San Li

    It is located on the lower leg right below the kneecap. Applying pressure on this point can alleviate nausea and pain. The pressure should be applied in a downward motion to get the relief.

4. Menstrual cramps 

Using acupressure can definitely get menstrual pain under control. A study in Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has proven that acupressure has a significant effect on reducing pain from menstrual cramps. As acupressure realigns the energy pathways to the body, the central nervous system promotes the decrease in pain. 

Here are some of the best pressure points to remember when trying to alleviate pain from menstrual period:

  • Qi Hai

    It is believed to be the most effective pressure point when trying to relieve pain from period cramps. It is located two finger-widths below the navel. You can apply pressure here with the index finger as long as you desire for continuous relief.

  • He Gu

    It is the pressure point that is believed to decrease overall pain and inflammation. It is located at the highest point of muscle between the thumb and index finger.  

5. Neck and shoulder tension 

People have been turning to acupressure in seeking relief from neck and shoulder tension. Clinicians from UCLA Center for East-West Medicine recommend the use of acupressure in alleviating strains in these areas.

Aside from Jian Jing and He Gu, here are some of the effective pressure points to relieve pain in the neck and shoulders:

  • Zhong Zu

    It is located between the knuckles above the pinky and ring fingers. This point promotes circulation and tension release resulting in relief from pain. Try massaging this point to reduce the pain on the neck, shoulder, back or head.

  • Shou San Li

    It is commonly stimulated to aid neck tightness, shoulder pain, and diarrhea.  It is found at the outer part of the forearm and three fingers-width below the elbow crease when the elbow is bent 90 degrees.

These are just some of the most commonly known ailments where acupressure can be used. Having a bunch of other pressure points means that there are absolutely more therapeutic possibilities through acupressure. In fact, you can delve into the other essential body points and how they provide health benefits through this Acupressure: Be Healthy with Chinese Massage Point online course.

Increasing your knowledge about physical therapy such as in the form of acupressure is definitely beneficial. Coming from the old Eastern traditions, it has absolutely paved the way for more convenient yet effective health treatment. 

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